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No way I'll coach England: Gatland eyeing Super Rugby gig after Lions tour to South Africa

Gatland added that he was ‘bemused’ by Eddie Jones’ comments about the Lions job in March.

Eddie Jones and Warren Gatland at the launch of the 2019 Six Nations.
Eddie Jones and Warren Gatland at the launch of the 2019 Six Nations.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

WARREN GATLAND HAS ‘definitively’ ruled himself out of contention to replace Eddie Jones in the England hot-seat, and says his preference would be to take up a role in Super Rugby following the 2021 Lions tour.

Gatland will depart Wales following the Rugby World Cup this year and then lead the Barbarians against the Welsh on 30 November before switching his focus towards the Lions’ trip to South Africa in two summers’ time.

The Kiwi was reportedly top of the RFU’s list of successors for when Jones’ England deal expires in August 2021, but speaking after he was confirmed as Lions boss for a third time, Gatland dismissed the notion off-hand while throwing a barb in Jones’ direction.

“I can tell you definitively now I will not be coaching England. There is no way I will be coaching England unless I put a blazer on or something!” said Gatland, referring to Jones’ previous comments about the Lions job.

“At the moment I am talking to a couple of people about what I am going to do post-the Lions but there is nothing I have looked at signing or anything formal at the moment.

“My whole focus at the moment is about this role and planning and preparing Wales for the World Cup.

“After today, I probably won’t think about this for the next six months in terms of doing the best job for Wales and maybe start thinking about what my other options are and what I am going to do.

I think my coaching path’s going to take a different direction. I’d like to go back to New Zealand, hopefully, if there’s an opportunity in Super Rugby.

Gatland also confirmed that the 2021 Lions tour — his fourth — will be his last.

The Wales boss expressed his surprise at Jones’ dismissive remarks about the job, with the Australian claiming in March: “The last thing I want to do is spend eight weeks in a blazer. That’s an ambassador job. I’m a coach. I’d rather coach the Queensland Sheffield Shield [cricket] team.”

Gatland said: “I don’t know how you could coach a Lions team in a blazer. I was bemused by that. It is one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do as a coach.

Seeing how hard those other coaches worked on the last tour, with guys down in the team room at seven, eight in the morning until nine, 10 at night, planning and preparing as well as coaching two teams twice a day, getting ready for matches – it is the hardest thing.

“Whether that was a subtle way for him to rule himself out of contention or not, I don’t know.”

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